September – the month of changes — closes with a concert by a man who has changed the landscape of music over the past five decades. Gordon Lightfoot will perform at the Crown Coliseum on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. He is the complete package — singer, songwriter and musician. He learned piano in his teens and taught himself percussion and the guitar.
Lightfoot’s publicist noted that the iconic performer is excited about performing at the Crown, “Mr. Lightfoot has been looking forward to playing in Fayetteville for a long time, but it has always been a questions of logistics. He is glad that the venue and his schedule were able to come together.”
When one thinks of Gordon Lightfoot, three songs immediately come to mind, “If You Could Read My Mind”, “Sundown” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. His discography spans 50 years and has been covered by Bob Dylan, Toby Keith, Jimmy Buffet, Dan Fogelberg, Richie Havens, Elvis Presley, Judy Collins and a host of others.
“If You Could Read My Mind” speaks to a relationship that once flourished but hit rocky times. We hear the questioning in his voice wondering whether the relationship could be saved as he mourns for what once was but will never be again. “Sundown” relates the plaintive desire for a woman who is just out of reach. When he finally captures her, regret fills his soul.
After reading a Newsweek article in November 1975, Lightfoot penned “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The song tells the tale of the tragic last voyage of the S.S Edmund Fitzgerald. The ship was caught in a winter storm in Lake Superior and all 29 crew members perished. The lyrics were drawn from facts that surround the tragedy. To this day, Lightfoot visits family members of those that perished when his touring schedule allows.
Lightfoot has weathered his own storms as well. The life of a touring musician took its toll on several relationships. In 1972, he contracted Bell’s palsy and experienced temporary paralysis but continued to write music. In 2002, he suffered an abdominal aneurysm and was in a coma for six weeks and eventually had a tracheotomy. His indomitable sprit prevailed and by late 2003 he was back in the studio rehearsing. His 20th album, Harmony, was released in 2004.
A native Canadian, Lightfoot was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003. It is the nation’s highest civilian award. He has also been nominated for five Grammy awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.
Regardless of the instrument played, Lightfoot weaves music and words telling a story that has the listener nodding in appreciation — for the life lived and the life shared. September — the month of changes. Be prepared for an evening of moving moments and memories.
Tickets can be obtained by visiting www.crowncoliseum.com or www.ticketmaster.com.